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300,000 Captive PlayStation 3s Released, Court War Not Over Yet

Killzone 3 Screenshot - 868387

Remember the LG-Sony court war that surfaced across the media last month? It's the one LG filed after the company noticed that their patents were being infringed by Sony and their PlayStation 3 consoles. As a result of the ruling, all European imports of PS3s were confiscated, and things could have gotten a lot worse.

Today, a Dutch court reversed the order, allowing the captive consoles to be put back into retail. The good news for Sony continues, as a reported 180,000 consoles on the way to the Netherlands will not be seized pending further appeal from LG. LG has been ordered to pay €130,000 ($179,400) in court costs. For every day LG fails to pay up, an extra €200,000 (approximately $275,000) will be added.

Florian Mueller, a blogger and patent expert, broke down the order's lifting: "The key reason for the court to lift the seizure order was that this kind of measure didn't seem fair given the history of negotiations between the parties. The ruling didn't only overturn the prejudgment seizure order but also told LG to inform the Dutch customs authority and ensure that no further confiscations would happen."

The patent violations extend past that of the blu-ray aspect of the PS3, as mobile phones, televisions, and digital cameras are all involved. Is it really a violation of patents? Unless very specific components were used in a very specific fashion, how different can one blu-ray player or digital camera be from another? Until that's solved, expect this debate to continue on for some time and LG to file even more disputes.

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Stuart Macdonald
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